West Limestone ready for Good Hope

West Limestone running back Thorne Slaton stiff arms an East Limestone defender in a game earlier this season. The Wildcats blew out Hamilton 44-0 in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs last Friday, and now host Good Hope in the second round.

West Limestone football coach Shelby Davis has been waiting for his team to play up to its full potential. It finally happened in last Friday's 44-0 first-round Class 4A playoff victory over Hamilton. Now, he hopes the Wildcats can take that momentum and use it in their second-round game Friday against Good Hope.

“I've been hammering these guys all season about how I didn't think we had played up to our full potential,” Davis said. “But this past Friday night, that's the first time we've played to our full potential in all three phases of the game. I couldn't be more pleased with how we played Friday. That was by far the best game we've played.”

West Limestone improved to 10-1 with the victory, which is only the third double-digit win season in program history. The Wildcats will host fellow 10-1 team Good Hope in Friday's second-round game.

Good Hope finished runner-up in Region 6, losing its only game to region champion Etowah. The Raiders defeated North Jackson 33-8 in last week's first-round playoff game.

Good Hope is making its third straight playoff appearance and is 29-6 since the start of the 2018 season.

“They're pretty big up front and have got a big ole running back (Colton Bagwell) that runs hard,” Davis said. “They've got a quarterback (Tanner Malin) that's got some good wheels, and that presents a lot of problems. He's real comparable to the Murks kid at Brooks (Brooks quarterback Kyler Murks). Having faced him will help us prepare.”

Davis said his defense knows what Good Hope wants to do, it's just a matter of stopping them.

“Our style and their style is kind of similar,” he said. “They want to run the football. They run it 78% of the time. They're going to be physical and run the football. That's the kind of things you're going to run into when you get deep in the playoffs.”

The fact both teams like to run the football could put a premium on possessions. Running plays should keep the clock moving, which means potentially fewer possessions for each team. Davis said it is important for the Wildcats to take advantage of each possession offensively.

“We're going to do what's worked for us all year,” Davis said. “Get behind that offensive line, those four seniors, and let them grind the game out. They're a run-heavy team and they're going to try and keep the ball away from people. You've got to maximize your possessions, no doubt.”

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